Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Leftovers

Tweet of the Week: "Chad Aldeman @ChadAldeman BREAKING: Millions of students opt *into* standardized tests:… @CollegeBoard"

NJ Spotlight has another in a series of articles on Newark’s Quitman Street Renew School, all by Sara Neufeld and sponsored by the Hechinger Report: “Quitman is testament to the fact that school reform done honestly takes a long time. A spike in scores tends to be the last piece to come, after strong leadership and instruction are in place. Nationally, many teachers and administrators don’t want to work under circumstances that require self-sacrifice and constant outside scrutiny.”

Star-Ledger: "Nearly 100 New Jersey superintendents who had left their jobs as of February 2014 cited the salary cap as a factor, according to a survey of districts conducted this year by the New Jersey School Boards Association."

Check out John Mooney's podcast on the Bacon cases, sixteen rural poor districts, represented by Education Law Center, that are vying for extra state aid. Here's my take.

Star-Ledger: "State senators on Thursday approved a bill calling on the Department of Education to consider requiring New Jersey middle and high schools to start their days after 8:30 a.m., as suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics."

Press of Atlantic City: "Incidents of violence, vandalism, substance abuse and bullying all declined in New Jersey public schools during the 2013-14 school year, according to the annual report released by the state Department of Education Tuesday." Also see NJ Spotlight.

The Record looks at some North Jersey districts, including Wayne, that have “dropped midterms and finals, a staple of education for as long as anyone can remember. The motive is partly to regain instruction time as standardized tests take up more days each year. But school officials say they’re also tossing out the traditional, high-stakes exams as they look at the larger issue of how to determine what students have learned.” Reaction from the community has been mixed.

"More than 20 percent of students were out sick Friday at Collingswood's high school and middle school because of a rapidly spreading, flu-like illness, district officials said." (Courier Post)

"A new effort by the Trenton school district will offer English as a second language and civics classes to parents of English language learning students this spring as a way to increase parent engagement in the schools." (Trenton Times)

The Wall Street Journal reports that "New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ’s administration sent the state’s top education officials a letter Thursday warning that he plans to use his influence over the budget to pursue an aggressive legislative agenda to fix what he calls an underperforming school system hobbled by bureaucracy.The fact that only about one third of students are proficient on state tests in math and language arts was 'simply unacceptable,' the letter said."

Also from the Wall St. Journal:
The vast majority of teachers and principals across New York got high grades for their work last year, state data showed Tuesday, prompting top education officials to call for tougher evaluations.
 “It’s crazy that the majority of teachers across the state were rated highly when the majority of students aren’t being taught to read and do math at grade level,” said Jenny Sedlis, executive director of StudentsFirstNY, which pushes for steps to boost teacher quality.

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